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"fashion" Category


There is no future, we create the past.


Monday, December 1, 2014

3 During the visit at the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s, between all the dresses who can melt and the one who construct themselves there where an UFO. Three little canvas on the wall of a red room , hidden by a giant costume referencing to the solar system. These three pictures were the work of Phyllis Galembo, the sample of an all life research about the ritual costumes and masks in Africa and the African Diaspora. This work was specially interesting not by the subject or the strong visual effect who drop out of these images but because it’s presented in the exhibition -The future of fashion is now- How can we related the future of fashion and a research about traditional costumes in Africa, who exist from centuries? We can relate this question with the work of Pablo Picasso who has been influenced with the first exhibition of african’s sculptures and masks in France and revolution the art history, but now is it still accurate? What is interesting about these traditional costumes is that they construct a bridge through the past and the future, pieces of art who travel between the ages, but the future of our own civilization is to look back in the past of other’s one or to build our own, now.

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Phyllis Galembo is an American artist, fine art photographer. Her work is now related from more than twenty-five years at the African masquerade and ritual clothing. her first travel to africa was in Nigeria in 1985 since she travel through the west and central africa and regularly to Haiti. She document with simple and sober portraits these ritual clothing/art pieces without adding any meanings, keeping them in there own environment. This is a really important part of her work because these costumes are already meaningful in a lot of different themes (religious ceremonies, secret society, rituals, spiritual meanings…) An other big part of her work is to create a relation with the members of the different tribes and then be able to be in contact with these sacred objects. Here we find another interesting relation with the exhibition at the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s. The relation between the creation of a new area for the fashion designer’s and the work of Phyllis, who don’t create a new idea of fashion but put in the podium an ancestral art. The attention of the spectator is fixed on the clothing on the pictures relate to the meaning of the exhibition and not the pictures themselves who are the work of the artist. The projector should’t be pointed on the creator of these art pieces, or is it the collaboration with the photographer who make them important for this theme -The future of fashion is now-

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These pictures were presented in the section “The (re)definition of the human figure”. It was the topic who interested me the most in the exhibition and also the one that disappointed me the most. The theme is so large and for me unxploited at all. Only the work of Pyuupiru (Tokio) “Mercurius” and the “Akata Masquerade” from the american photographer was relevant, even if my only wants was to see in real the costumes on the pictures.
The african traditional masquerade costumes are for me a door for a mystical world and also a question about the definition of the human being. These costumes are more than a redefinition of the human figure but a way to escape totally this human aspect, physically and spiritually. And maybe lead us to this question, why i was interested by this part of the exhibition, What is it to be human, Just a concept, are we just animals or is it something spiritual that we should be aware of, or search for?

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Recycling memory or personal story?


Sunday, November 30, 2014

CC is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. He is formerly known as Christophe Coppens or the mad hatter from the country of surreal art and comic books, Belgium. His career as a hat designer started when he was only 21 years old.

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Surreal hats designed by him were worn by Rihanna, the queen of Belgium and others. In May 2012 he decided to chuck that career,  closed his business and become an full time artist after 21 year of designing. He had been producing art works together with the designing but came to the conclusion that he could no longer combine it. As he said:

“You can’t be a good artist with the mentality of a fashion designer. And I didn’t succeed at being a part-time artist.”

His first exhibition after becoming ‘fulltime artist’ showed his work called landscape 1. Later he made and showed the work Landscape 2.

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Now he is taking part in the exhibition at Boijmans museum in Rotterdam, The Future of Fashion is now. There he puts together the two works Landscape 1 and Landscape 2 and gets work that he calls Landscape 3. It’s an installation that includes shelves full of sculptor mountains. The mountains are all mounted on wooden stands that may be references to theater stages (see more on this website [x]) They are made out of his old clothes that he cut down. He did that after he noticed that all his clothes were linked to who he was before (he became a full-time artist) almost literally costumes for the person he showed outwards for interviews and such. Nothing fitted him anymore he said, not literally but figuratively speaking. He also used some of his old furniture for the sculpture mountains. It became some kind of capsule of his future.

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So could it be that CC is recycling his memories in this work? His memories and personal story that he wants to put aside but at the same time still enjoy?

 

Poem
It is an universally accepted fact and the
theme of our modern age, -
That for an efficient waste management,
Most of our items must be recycled once
again!
Optimal utilisation always brings,
Economy of effort, – a plausible thing!
But when I try to recycle my thoughts;
Those old memories of yesteryears,
Where some are pleasant, while others
bring tears!
They all remain entrenched in my mind to
stay,
And cannot be recycled even to this day!
My good old values and sober tastes,
When I try to recycle with a modern remix;
Like those old nostalgic songs are ripped-off, -
Their haunting melody and tender words!
All stripped naked to become a curse!
And my eternal soul which lies caged within,
Must patiently await many a re-birth;
Cannot be easily recycled or tampered with!
For that remains the prerogative of the good
Lord,
And beyond the domain of the recycled lot!
-Raj Nandy

In this time were everything has to be recycled or recycle able CC is recycling his memories and personal stories. He is using his past to grow and keep on living his life. His future is helping him to develop his skills and keep on moving towards the future.

 

Tips from CC: Enjoy the present and wear sun screen- video

 

The World in the Computer


Thursday, November 27, 2014

 

‘By presenting my designs not only physically but also digitally, new dimensions are created to strengthen the experience of fashion.’ (Jacob Kok)

 

The reason I chose Jacob Koks 3D work – evolution, (animated movie by himself and the software developer Autodesk), was because of the way it was presented  as a video made in a computer program. The use of media and what it allows you to do with gravity and form in this animated short film is for me very interesting and relevant for the art and design as it develops today.

I think the title of the exhibition “ The Future for Fashion is now” indicates that; we should use all our technologies and experiences we made so far, in the work of art and design today.  For me the technology that is created is not so far mentally reachable, as it may be for my grandmother, but still it has gone to a level of complexity that can be hard to follow for everybody.  I grew up in a generation where computers still was a “new” thing. but at the same time still very much existing. I grew up with laptops mobile phones , as an everyday- kind of object. It is therefore extremely relevant, to also include these kinds of objects in our art today.

In Jacob Koks – Evolution, he is working in this “second world“ where space limits and rules of gravity does not exist. He can play with shapes and fabric, as he likes. In the video shapes of clothing and body parts have it’s own rhythm, in the sense that it does not follow the natural movement pattern of what that kind of object, is supposed to do. The pictures is overlapping each other, making one shape or one figurative person floating over to another shape or person, creating a new walking, and idea about what clothing is and can be.
He started out with catwalk videos, mainly because he did not have the money to create collections and also to get them in production; he used his budget on the catwalk sample and didn’t have money to make more. He “crowed founded” his first collection, but he brought up a subject, for him and the rest of the fashion industry to work at.

That’s where he “reinvented himself as a designer” put in his own words, but he also questioned the very materialized fashion world, which I find very interesting. Making the fashion virtual he was not only manipulating with body shapes and fabric, but also he dematerializing clothing in fashion, by doing so. He was able to, in a very experimenting way, to expand himself as a designer in a digitally media, but also making himself able to save some money to make his art/fashion real.

A lot of catwalk clothings is only made for inspiration, which gives the designer a lot of money to spend, without selling /earning anything. I think in the use of digitally media in the fashion industry like Jacob Kok does it, is a big inspiration for other upcoming artist in this field.

Later on he cooperated with the Sims 3 Game, which also gives a whole other perspective to his work.

The Sims game is a virtual game where you create a world of your own. You simply make the figures by selecting their looks, from everything to eye colour, hairstyle, clothing, to personality interest and goals in life.

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When you made your characters, you can buy a property and then you start building. There are limits for your house building, as it is in real life, so you have to be patient.  Your characters have to go to work to earn money; they have to be stimulated mentally with having friends, hobbies love life and carrier.

You have to fulfill these desires to collect points. In this way the game can go on and on. It does not end. This game has sold over ten million copies worldwide since 2009 release, making it one of the best selling games of all time.

I believe the game is so popular because it works with the simplicity of life, it is like a recipe for how a “normal” life can look like, and you are the controller. In a world where young people are so confused about all the choices they have to make. The Sims game actually makes the player successful, almost no matter what, and if not, just start over.

It’s a game for both girls and boys maybe even some adults, because it is reflecting our own way of living. Maybe even questioning, our way of living.

When Jacob Kok is using these references in his work,[x] it could associate with a feeling, for those who knows the game, that their have control over their looks and behaving and in the end, control over their life. The game is creating a feeling of being more successful as a person, in a world that can be very confusing to live in.

Of course other artist/designers has explored this area of what the digitally media can give us.

Wade Guyton is a post conceptual American artist [x] who makes digital paintings on canvas using scanners and digital technology, but there is also artist who specialize in digitally artworks, that also plays with this virtual external world which computer games is presenting.

David O’Reilly is an artist working in the field of 3D animation movies, he is known for the distinctive absurdity of his work. In his work “External world” He kind of gives an example of how the absurd the world is. The theme of the whole film could be how people are scared of things that are new and maybe more specific about how things are rejected, if others do not understand it. The film is criticizing a lot of things, also the fact that animation movie is allowed to present violence  without being taken serious.

The relation between the two artist, is both the media but also how they reach their audience, by creating a space with no rules, a space that have no end and a place where we can create and do whatever we want.

O’Reilly is seen as one of the leading 3D animation artist, which has like Jacob Kok, is dealing with the human role in the world, by using 3D animation.

Jacob Kok works both inside and outside the media, by using The Sims, and catwalk animation movies as (Paradise) he is not only interested in fashion, but also have a background an interest in animation. His start point was not to only work in one media he once thought he would make music videos, because he felt that he in his work was embracing more visuals and music together, than separate (you can easily see this affection in his work; official trailer for his spring/summer collection) He is uniting several of his own interests in fashion/animation/ music, to make a new perspective to fashion and his artworks.

O’Reilly is working as an artist in digital form, Jacob Kok works with fashion and design and needs real time to exist, were O’Reilly only works in the virtual world. He doesn’t claim his works, but put them on the Internet for everybody to enjoy. Which I think also is an interesting point. Jacob Kok is also using this method to expand his works, but not as absolute and clear as O’reilly does it.

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Something that I also find really interesting, is when artist use more than one skill, the combination of interest and competence is inspirational, personal and very true as an artist.  I think both of these artists are connecting very convincing and beautifully, a personal and new, perspective in the fields of art/fashion/animation.

FC11ToekomstVanFashion_MediaMatic

My Sofa Journey


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Larssofa_18

What happens if you could take a nap when and wherever you want? Forrest Jessee designed the sleep suit(1), that makes it possible to sleep in your own cocoon, at work, school or at the streets. I wanted to challenge the idea of Jessee. So I went to the streets to experience it, not with clothing… but with a simple sofa.

 

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(1)

 

The sleep suit of Jessee immediately got my attention when I visited the exhibition “The future of fashion is now”. The shape in combination with the material its made of, creates an architectural form. It looks as a personal space, because of the thickness of the primary material, EVA foam, which is also used for padding and shock absorption in sports equipment. Usual fashion, in my opinion, is meant as a kind of jewelry for the body. Fashion, in common, plays with the form of the body, and is meant to be decoration. In this design the form of the body is almost not visual anymore. It adds something to the body, where it almost becomes a second body part. That in combination, with the daily environment, creates very interesting images(2,3).

 

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The part where this piece is playing with his environment is the part that I wanted to experience by myself. I just moved to my new home in the centre of Amsterdam, as I found my new sofa in the streets of Amsterdam South. So I walked 5,2 km to my home with it. I had to take a lot of breaks, and interesting things happened that for me related to the ‘Sleep Suite’ of Jessee.

What I wanted to experience, is the interaction with me laying/relaxing/sitting/jumping at my sofa and the busy city life. A lot things happened on my way so…

I want you to share my ‘Sofa Journey’.

 

 

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Larssofa_10(13)

Larssofa_11(14)

Larssofa_12(15)

Larssofa_14(16)


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Larssofa_19(20)

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Larssofa_23(23)

Larssofa_25(24)

Larssofa_26(25)

Larssofa_27(26)

Larssofa_28(27)

 

 

After 4,5 hours

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The experiences I’ve had this journey, I would never had without the sofa. The sofa became a medium to communicate with buildings, animals, trams and people. In the pictures I tried to play with the environment. For example, I saw a lot of buildings which had the same stripes above their windows as the stripes from the couch. I could involve in that way the couch with his surrounding(11,12). Also the stripes of the zebra path were interesting to combine with the sofa(14). The garbage that I found at the streets I also used to create a fake ‘living room atmosphere’, with the television, couch and ventilator(13).

Also the opposite situations were very interesting. Where the sofa was not palpitating the surrounding. A good example of it, is the picture where people looking strange at me sitting at my couch.(16) In the rest of the pictures there is also a lot of ‘miscommunication’ between me, relaxing at my sofa and the busy background. I enjoyed the journey a lot with me and my sofa, which is now settled in my appartement. It will always remember me of this day.

Are you the clothes you wear?


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Every morning when I dress for school, I’m in doubt. I put something on and it’s again the same. I have a couple of outfits I wear a lot and that make me feel safe. Though, everytime I doubt whether it’s good enough. I’m in a school that calls itself an art school and it doesn’t feel like I’m a typical person that belongs in an art school, even though I don’t know if that kind of a person exists. Because of that I feel like I have to proof myself, as if I have to pretend that I’m someone else, wearing clothes that suit art school, but that suit don’t me. I feel too normal, too average, too ‘different’. Too boring. Even when the clothes I wear I really like and I feel comfortable in.

The strange thing is: there isn’t something like a dresscode for an art academy. Everyone wears what they like or what makes them feel good. So no one cares what you’re wearing. Although it feels like everyone has their own unique style, different from everyone, and maybe that could be the dresscode. Being as unique as possible. And if you see it like this, maybe I do fit in.

For me this proves that your identity is for a big part in the hands of the clothes you wear, prejudices exist and people pretend that they know who you are. You can deny that it is like this, and I’m sure that came across your mind, but I think everyone realizes that this is true. Even when you don’t really care about fashion or clothing, it says something about who you are, about your identity. It expresses your culture or subculture. The group you belong to. Fashion is the easiest way to express, to make a statement. And we do, all of us.

 

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Beyond the Body, a perception of appearance and identity : video and publication 2012

Imme van der Haak is an artist who takes identity as an starting point. She says that fashion is, for her, the way to form your identity, to show yourself. But also and mostly to try and be someone else and experience how that is, to step in someones skin and mind. In that way you can undergo an metamorphosis and your clothes can function as an cocoon where in you can undergo that metamorphosis. Also without clothes there is an identity, in scars, hair, birthmarks and surgical adjustments. Our body is an product of nature and a product of science. There are tons of possibilities to give our body a certain form. In the end she says that even without clothes, fashion influences our body. This can come out in tattoos, piercings, the way we cut our hair, but also in the edit on photographs in fashion.

 

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Configurations : Jewelry 2010

She makes works about changing the form of the body. This is shown the best in her work Elastic Mind, where she deforms her face and body with several tools, like elastics, balloons, tights, hairpins and treads. By this she does research to the form of the body, and tries to find new forms, that are not so normal but can be beautiful in a way. It was a research for a jewelry line she made, with really innovative and new jewelry. Also in her video work “Beyond the Body” shown in the exhibition The Future of Fashion is Now, a really beautiful and emotional video is shown, that makes us think about our own identity and how we express that. In the video two people are shown, covered by a transparent piece of fabric with the body of someone else printed on it, and by that they are given a second identity. The shape of the body changes because of the fabric and the picture, which is interesting and typical for Imme, like I said.

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Elastic Mind : publication 2010

 

Another artist that works with deformation of the body as a research for defining identity is Jeanne Dunning. She did kind of similar things, like putting balloons under clothing and creating extra bodyparts, which you can compare to Imme’s work in the video, because there you see two people at a time and by that sometimes there are more arms or legs. She creates surrealistic images as a result, not as a research like Imme does.

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Jeanne Dunning : in bed 2004

I think it’s an interesting subject to think about how easily you can change the way you look and by that your identity. You will be the same person from the inside, but a lot changes by how other people see you or how your look makes you feel. It’s something we are busy with everyday.
 

 

plastic, the new cotton.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Future of Fashion is Now is exhibited until the 18th of January at the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum. Here they show many designs of for example Viktor&Rolf, Reijna Pyo, Christophe Coppens , etc. The exhibition is base don futuristic technology and social manners and they are divided into four big categories: Materiality and experience, The definition of the human figure, New values and new stories and Fashion activism: community and politics. From the beginning on they was already one designer that really dragged my attention.

Iris van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer who graduated at the Artez Academy in Arnhem. After her internship at Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam she started to design shoes for the established brand United Nude. A couple of years later she decided to start her own fashion label. Iris van Herpen describes her own as fashion where general rules don’t exist. It is to her a combination between craftsmanship and innovative techniques. To be able to create her extravagant designs she collaborates with several artists from different disciplines. The singer Björk has worn several dresses from her collections. She wore one of Iris van Herpen’s pieces from the Radiation Invasion collection on the cover of her album Biophilia. Also the extravagant Lady Gaga and the style icon Daphne Guinness have worn many of her designs. So Iris van Herpen is the perfect unification of fashion, technology and art.

SHOES

The Ferrofluiddress from Iris van Herpen is the perfect example of what her work is all about, experimentation with inventive techniques and new materials. So as a matter of fact the exhibited dress in the museum was part of her experimental work. She was able to make a dress that can grow in time. Underneath the metal dress there are several magnets placed and on top of the waist there is a magnetic fluid – ferrofluid – falling down drop-wise. Because the fluid sticks to the dress it actually builds up in layers. This system is related to her 3D printed fashion pieces. A 3D printer is a device that creates arbitrary three-dimensional objects based on digital drawings. The material that is used builds up layer per layer, such as the ferrofluid process. With this technique Iris van Herpen is able to accomplish sculptures that are impossible to make by hand.

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The reason why Iris van Herpen fascinates me is because I see a clear link between her artistic vision and mine. My greatest passion in the art world is photography, but I like to play within this with other forms of art and to collaborate with other artists. Personally I find aesthetics and experimentation the 2 most vital aspects of my own work. The most intriguing thing to me is that she manages to translate these experimental projects into reality, whereas her initial idea is not to create wearable art. Such as the implementation of metal and plastic in Iris van Herpen’s fashion designs, I find it interesting as well to work with unusual materials. I like to convert surrealistic ideas into reality, instead of staying with the obvious. The purity of the used materials is always put up front in my works rather than the use of abundant manipulation in the end. Plastic according to Iris van Herpen is not a cheap solution for natural materials but it is a valuable element in her creations.

So the main difference between all the other shown designer pieces is that the Ferrofluiddress is not at all a static object but it is a growing piece of art. Iris van Herpen in my opinion is not a traditional designer who only works in fashion, but she is an artist who converts her experimentation into wearable sculptures.

Sensors and supervision


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The exhibition The Future of Fashion Is Now at the museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam features established and upcoming designers questioning and challenging the premises of contemporary fashion. One of the contributing designers is the canadian designer Ying Gao, who in her work Incertitudes used speech- and motion-activated sensors hidden within two white dresses covered with thousands of small needles, reminiscent of porcupine coats. The gestures and noises of a viewer or passerby forces the attached pins to move, transforming the garment as well as the contours of its wearer. In her description of the piece, Gao refers to the constant stress and uncertainty of modern day individuals, always flexible and ready to adapt to new situations.

Gao was participating in the section of the exhibition called Materiality and Experience, which makes perfect sense in consideration of her other works, also making use of innovative technological solutions. Besides Incertitudes, she has also investigated light-reactive electronic components, by creating coats that move depending on the intensity of a light source, such as a flashlight. Involving interactive techniques in fashion could bring a sense of dynamism to the concept of clothing. When permitting participation/interaction with surroundings and spectators, the pieces rapidly distinguish themselves from any garment that is delivered already “done”. Bypassing flatness and immobility, they become equipped with a quality of sensibility and refinement.

 

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 1.
• Flexible Pressure Sensors • Incertitudes (close-up) by Ying Gao • Silver nano wire sensors • (Now)here (Now)here (close-up) by Ying Gao • Solar Powered Jacket by Tommy Hilfiger

 

Combining aesthetics with the latest technological developments is not always an uncomplicated process. Successful and sophisticated design of hi-tech clothing is still limited to a small number of fortunate tries. We slowly move away from the “ugliness” that usually haunt technical innovations in their early years. The industry could be seen as going through a process of normalization, where the feeling of the relatively unnecessary “tech gadget” is left behind.

Designers experimenting with the new possibilities are however operating in an unexplored grey area somewhere between usefulness, beauty and supervision. When letting technology become autonomous and enabling it to take its own decisions, the designer releases control over the outcome. Reducing his or her position by introducing chance and fate will inevitably lead to new opportunities and new situations.

Although the integration of data-collecting sensors in fabric has a natural relevance for the innovative clothing designers, the use of such equipment will most likely not be restricted to the fashion industry only. This could mean infinite possibilities – the risk of abuse on civil liberties should be taken into consideration. What if the occurrence of intelligent fabrics was as widespread (but also overlooked) as surveillance cameras in public spaces? If biometric textile was put on the seats of public transport? Or misused, as if put on animals or plants? How would our experience of daily life change if speech- and motion reacting sensors were installed in supermarkets, shopping centers, cafés? If objects/garments changed with the impact of our mere presence?

 

research 2web2

 2.
• Infrared motion sensor burglar alarm • Digital persona Fingerprint reader • AR. 2.0 Parrot Model drone • System Azure Security Ornamentation by Jill Magid • Facial Weaponization Suit by Zach Blas

 

It is nowadays clear that smart wristbands (as well as watches, jewelry and other attachable items) tracking, measuring and analyzing the bearers every movement is a constantly growing industry. The technique of smart fabrics and integrated sensors in clothing is evolving equally rapid, thereby soon making the act of strapping on an external device unnecessary. By inserting sensors capable of tracking very precise information already in the fabrics, data on motion, size, location, force, weight or shape could easily be collected.

Technological monitoring of human movement is however nothing new. The first closed-circuit TV cameras (CCTV) came into use already in 1942 during the observation of a rocket launch in Peenemünde, Germany. Surveillance camera systems performing continuous video recording has been a common practice almost ever since. Among more recent developments are biometric recognition (face, fingerprints etc), aerial surveillance (helicopters, drones etc.) and naturally everything related to internet and social media. Could the integration of intelligent fabrics be a suitable addition to this process?

 

research 3web2

3.
• Google Glasses • Ritot smart wristband • Flexible Skin Temperature Sensor • Necklace Projector • Smartphone

 

New wearable technology are in some aspects already being used as a means of self-control and self-reflection, as a way of eliminating chance and the unforeseen at any cost. The behavior could be linked to the ongoing obsession with observing and measuring the own body. Health, sport and the perfecting of ones physical appearance has gotten a new trendy twist with smart apparel, fitting quite well into the all-encompassing life project certain enthusiastic users are living by. Are we moving from an attitude of authoritarian respect from earlier times and into a slavery of self discipline and personal surveillance? From the all-seeing, omnipresent monitor to the individual supervising itself?

The existence of hidden, interactive sensors and reactive fabrics is undeniably a relevant topic – the potential is striking. Anyone curious in new means of communication could possibly avoid the advancement of smart textile in modern daily life, reaching us all within a very near future.

On a personal level, I ask myself if there could be some sort of spirituality to be found in this technology of supervision? Is there an empty space to be filled in secular societies, leading up to this voluntary self-surveillance through different types of apparel and other devices? The subject is fascinating both from an artistic point of view as well as a philosophical/ethical one. 

 

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4.

• Conan O'Brien tries Dream Weaver (video) • Chakra Balancing application • Deepak Chopras Dream Weaver • iPhone surveillance

 

How do we as individuals deal with the concept of spirituality, truth and privacy in the age of technology? The adaption to new conditions is unavoidable, but becomes more and more a matter of privileges.

The revelations on to what extent state supervision is currently practiced (Edward Snowden, NSA, Wikileaks) chocked a whole world and deepened the conflict with the established, monotheistic religions believing in the One and only God to monitor and judge all human action. Surveillance relates to different aspects of privacy, such as privacy of property, of space, of personality and of thought. Worthy of note is that not everyone has the economical means to question authoritarian demands on personal information, with the consequence of privacy possibly turning into a valuable property that only a select few can access.

New forms of spiritual practice and/or self-monitoring take shape with the aid of technological devices. Smartphone applications connected to health, higher power, meditation, zen etc. are immensely popular, offering a re-charging of the soul similar to the charging of batteries. When spiritual leaders such as Deepak Chopra releases biosensorical glasses promising relaxation and inner peace the merging of spirituality and technology is indisputably a fact. Are they all yet another expression of an egocentric, self-obsessed Western society or a useful tool to actually reconnect lost searchers of truth?

In any case, a space has opened up for an intimate, personal form of spirituality disconnected from the dogmas of organized religions whilst also distancing itself from sovereign state control. The idea of scientific knowledge as the superior way of accessing truth is once again questioned – and is it necessarily in opposition to all spiritual methods? To conclude: it is visible how technology/the visible and spirituality/the invisible intertwine and affect each other more and more in modern societies. This provides interesting opportunities for artists to question and investigate further, and I am certain that projects such as Ying Gaos is only a preview of what the future will hold.  

 

Red Carpet Culture


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

According to Oxford Dictionary, red carpet is ‘A long, narrow red carpet laid on the ground for a distinguished visitor to walk along when arriving.’ This dictionary also proposes one idiom related to the red carpet – red carpet treatment. This idiom is used ‘in reference to privileged treatment of a distinguished visitor.’ Viktor&Rolf’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection meet that definition au pied de la lettre. This Amsterdam based duo literally made the dresses from the red carpet.

 

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Viktor&Rolf took part in The Future of Fashion is Now exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam with two of their collections; Autumn/Winter 2013 aka Zen Garden collection [x] and Autumn/Winter 2014 aka collection executed entirely in red carpet. Although the Zen Garden one was broadly exhibited, the second collection made a bigger impression on me. Two white figurines with two dresses and two pair of shoes, all made from red carpet – that was it, quite decent display but perfectly contrasting to all glamorous world of red carpet. There was something magical about the material. Or maybe is it just something in human nature that we are subconsciously attracted by red carpet?

 

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The designers found in a carpet manufacturer Desso a great partner for this collection. This Dutch company produced carpet without the usual rubber backing and also carpet with animal skin motifs, according to their words ‘shaved and laboriously hand-appliquéd carpet, which takes up to 300 hours per look to complete.’ The clothes were wrapped around body and a little bit resembled bath towels from afar. Dresses were accompanied by jewels and shoes made in the same style.

 

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Collection was initially presented in Paris, obviously on the red carpet, followed by a rhythmic clapping song [Video]. This presentation is worth watching. Viktor&Rolf themselves describe this collection as ‘a meditation on a current obsession.’ Are we actually a society obsessed by a red carpet? Are we a red carpet culture?

I have never realised that such thing as a red carpet can have a rich history. It was first mentioned in the play called Agamemnon, written by Aeschylus in 458 BC. In this play, the main character returns home from Troy and is greeted by his wife who offers him a red path to walk upon. However, Agamemnon, knowing that only gods walk on such luxury refuses and says: ‘I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path.’

People are no more afraid of walking on the red carpet. First of all, there were popes and heads of states. Red carpet marked the route they were taking on ceremonials and special occasions. Red carpet is now mainly associated and broadly used by celebrities and all VIPs glamour world. For those who are interested, exhausting and detailed history of red carpet is here. Bearing in mind Agamemnon’s story and the fact that red carpet is only for gods, I realised that maybe the basis is still the same but we changed our faith.

We can also consider the red carpet as the first marketing tool in the history of fashion. In the early decades of the 20th century there were the celebrities (actors and actresses, singers, dancers as well as members of noble families) who carried fashion impulses. Nowadays designers like to dress celebrities for red carpet events because their photos literally see the whole world. In this context we can understand Viktor&Rolf’s collection as a revolt against this trend.

Nowadays, the actual event may seem overshadowed by the red carpet. Just look at this video of Oscar preparation – workers rolling out the red carpet and a huge amount of photographers and media in place to depict that very moment.

 

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It might be as well really stressful moment for celebrities in terms of perfectionism. All the world is watching every detail, manicure, hair, make-up, dresses, jewellery, manner of walking, everything. In the event of Emmy’s 2014, E magazine also prepared so called ‘clutch cam’ and ‘mani cam’ so the viewer could see every detail even closer. Walking the red carpet can actually be a nightmare. Celebrities might not eat for days or even weeks before the event. You can look at how many results you find when searching on google for ‘how to be red carpet ready’: tips on diets, workouts, pills and many many more.

We developed some kind of camouflage pattern for being invisible in the nature. Can we also be invisible on the red carpet? Viktor&Rolf dresses can represent one way of reaching invisibility but I searched for more examples where celebrities tried to disappear.

 

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I think that Viktor&Rolf caught really well this current obsession. Suzy Menkes, Vogue fashion journalist, expressed it in a good way: ‘two brilliant minds catching a sociological thread.’ [x] I can only agree with her words. Red carpet represents a new value of our lives. If we think about the idiom ‘red carpet treatment’ I have one suggestion for future. Maybe we will have real red carpet treatments. Covering our body with red carpet for certain amount of time will cure illness and give back lost self-confidence.

 

Your life on a thread


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In the Boijmans Van Beuningen currently is an Exhibition called: The Future of Fashion is Now. One of the participates is Lara Torres.
Her work ‘an impossible wardrobe for the invisible’ takes part in the ‘New Values and New Stories’ part of the Exhibition.

 

 

About the part ‘New Values and New Stories’ the autor, Jose Teunissen, writes in the book of the exhibition: “Today’s designers are trying to recline and recalibrate the fashion system in a number of ways. The designers of the new generation are quick to criticise the fashion system, the compulsion to engage in overconsumption, and concepts such as brand identity a local identity, but they are also importing fashion with a new set of values. One important example is the Slow Fashion movement, whose goal is to render the fashion production system more transparent by using as many local materials as possible and by setting up a circular economy with direct lines running from producer to consumer. It is essential that the fashion product itself acquires a new, sustainable value so that its life extends beyond that of a single season.”

I underlined some words to make the connection to Torres reframing those words.
Overconsumption’ Her collection can only be worn once. What does that have to do with overconsumption? The waste can also be dissolved. And because of the dissolving there is a need for more clothes because you cannot wear the clothes again. Is ita good thing, to only wear clothes once?
Slow Fashion’. Her clothes dissolve slowly, but are gone forever. If it is connected to the ‘Slow Food’ movement, does it take long to make the clothes, are they worth the wait? Torres made such a fast disappearing collection, that the focus on a longer staying collection (not only one season) raises. And what about ‘Slow Design‘ movement in general. Is her work also an ongoing project? Comparing it to her previous work, maybe it is, maybe only for herself and not for her projects.
Transparent’. Her work is literally transparent when it is dissolved.
Direct lines’ She is using normal seams, so you could say that that’s literally, again, the direct lines of the producer to the consumer. You can see the way of using the seams by the producer.
Torres became interested in the relationship between clothing and memory. She wanted to approach fashion from a theoretical, artistic and investigative point of view.
She did research to make more transience, temporary clothing.

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For example her Effacing Series, a project she did before she started with an invisible wardrobe. With this new project Torres made a wardrobe collection, from a material that dissolves in water. So the clothes could only be worn one time. There is nothing ‘touchable’ left from what was made, only the photos and the videos.

The dissolving part was the part that took my attention. For me it was intriguing to see how people became half naked when they came in contact with water. Fragile. The naked truth.

And when I read more and more about what her meanings were behind the material, it became more interesting. First I wanted to do similar research on dissolving material and maybe even find dissolving ways to connect them (for example a dissolving threat). But when I figured it took Torres years of material research, I thought maybe not. Nowhere she did write or say what she used as a fabric. It dissolves, that’s why it is nowhere to be found, except in Torres’ mind.

When I was reading about the material I also bumped into her concept, unavoidable. In the beginning I was maybe  a little too focused, or intrigued, into the material and I didn’t have a good look on her concept. But after a while it got stuck in my head.

As an explanation to her works, she is talking about the loss of the object and the documentation of this loss. The action of effacing the clothes leaves a trace (the seams) translating a strong relation with memory and forgetfulness.
But how can you memorize an object, or even the loss from it. Do you get attached to it? In this case you do, the clothes are getting very close to your skin and in the end it is not ‘hiding’ your body anymore. Is that what clothing does for me? Does it hide my body, or are they showing my body? I don’t know.
There is a very subtle line between hiding or showing although they are an opposite. In one way you hide what you want to show in private. Do you?
When we put on our clothes in the morning (or any time) we feel our clothes, but after a while, we are not aware anymore that we are wearing clothes. Habituation they call it in behavioral science. How can you remember clothes if you are forgetting that you are wearing them? You do remember the itchy Christmas hand-made sweater from your grandma. Do you remember the itchiness or the sweater, or that you thought it was itchy. In other words: Does your body remember it, the same way that your body remembers how to walk, or does your mind remembers it?

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‘When the fabrics have dissolved, all that remains are the seams and the memories of the clothing.’  Did She write  in the Exhibition book about her work.
Can the seams be seen as a red thread of life? The continuing of life and the route it takes. Because when the water ‘attacks’ the clothes the seams are creating their ‘natural’ way to stay on the body. Is this how the water attacks us, human beings, because we don’t take enough care of the world. Does it have to do anything with the global warming? Our fight against water, which is also one of the main reasons we are alive?
Or can the remaining of the seams be seen as the memory of the edges of pain, or the edges of luck. Are the containing threads only there to give a suggestion of what was before, what happened? We remember only the outline of our memory. A friendship for example, we only remember the fights, the getting back together, but most of the things you did together you forget. Because they were ‘normal’ like having tea a hundred times, you will only remember at most five of the tea parties.
The seams are on the other hand also sticking how they were suppose to be, in other words, the seams are still holding the knots Torres used in designing her wardrobe. They are staying like they are supposed to stay. And then I am coming back to the literal interpretation of the ‘direct lines’ and the ‘transparency’. Because of the visual seams we can see the handwork of Torres. And with that she makes a very clear line between consumer and herself as a producer.

simple form, complex form.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The pieces that caught my eye, while visiting “The Future of Fashion is Now” exhibition, were the ones which were made from simple forms gaining new complex forms once worn on the structure of the human body. I decided to explore this relationship between simple and complex forms within artworks.

 

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The first piece I came across which showed these properties is O-Shirt, (Zhang Da) – a geometrically shaped garment which, when worn, takes on new forms due to the complex shape of the body. It was this piece, along with Movana Chen’s work, that sparked my interest in this topic.

 

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Movana Chen’s works ‘Body Containers’ are tubular garments that took on the shape of the bodies that wore them. They are another example where simple forms become complex once combined with a complex structure. The simplicity of the tubular ‘containers’ gives space for the human body to actively shape and structure the work. Had the Body Container been a more complex form, the shape of the body would have been lost.

While doing further research on the relationship between simple and complex forms, I found that an inversion of this relationship exists in other art as a very standard format. While Zhang Da and Movana Chen used simple forms on complex structures (bodies), nearly all 2dimensional images are made up of complex forms framed within simple, geometrical ones.

 

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I found it interesting that once considering the frame in relation to the forms within the image, the difference between images (e.g. representational and abstract images) becomes less significant. Though the subject matter depicted varies, they are formally the same: complex forms within regular, geometrical frames.

This made me see that the subject matter of these 2dimensional images are divorced from qualities of the object as a whole.

What I admire about Zhang Da and Movana Chen is that while the (complex) shapes that made up the subject matter of the 2dimensional images existed independantly from the shapes which framed them, the final shape of the work of Zhang Da and Movana Chen are informed by their chosen frame (the body), and therefore the frame is not only a frame, but an active part of the subject matter of the work as well.

Wanting to explore these relationships, I decided to make an experiment using a simple form (a square) on a complex structure.

 

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to create a complex structure I crumpled the paper on which the square was drawn, giving new form to the square. By photographing, cutting and pasting the new square back onto a flat piece of paper, I inverted it back into a 2dimensional work where a complex form is presented in a simple frame. By doing this I tried to make a work that is both a simple form on a complex structure and a complex form in a simple frame, as paper gives form to the subject matter of the work while simultaneously being a simple frame on which the 2dimensional image exists.

The invisible fashion


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I am not really into fashion so I didn’t know what to expect during the exhibition and even by looking at the website of The Future of Fashion is Now I had no clue whether I am gonna appreciate this kind of art or not. My fondness for Adele Varcoe started when I visited the exhibition. It was divided into 3 parts and it was the last one which seemed to me totally unclear and thereby intriguing. Ironically it was precisely this part –New Values and New Stories– in which I found this  amazing artist who is taking fashion into a higher level, looking at it not only as an outfit but more as a factor indicating our behavior.

Adele Varcoe is an Australian artist. She is not strictly a fashion designer but her works are directly lined with fashion. She is creating experiences which are suppose to show the social effects on clothing. Adele is mostly constructing group performances in which she brings people together in order to explore the elusive nature of fashion. She wants to outline the sense of self which is heightened through the clothes.

Imagine Chanel

While making her performances she likes to mix the participants, working with artists, models but whats mostly important with the public. She is interested in revealing how fashion influences the interactions and relations between people. Adele often uses the quote “perception of dress” which in her opinion is the subconscious behavior of the society depending on what we wear and in what situation we are.

The performance which I saw in the Boijmans exhibit and which invited me to learn more about Adele Varcoe was the salon fashion show Imagine Chanel. It was in 2012 when she came up with the idea of presenting fashion experience through language. She used the descriptions of garments from 1920s till 1960s Chanel archive at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Powerhouse Museum as material to reveal the role which our imagination plays in looking at fashion. The main goal of this performance was to highlight that fashion is not something that exists as dress only. The fashion show is led by a woman reading the descriptions of Chanel outfits while nude women circle between the audience acting as they were wearing all the precious, described cloths. This situation gives the audience a broad field where by using their imagination they can design their own clothes worn by the models.

Imagine Chanel

Adele’s concept is based on the professional opinion of a sociologist Yaniya Kawamura [x] who claims that : “Fashion does provide extra added values to clothing, but the additional elements exist only in peoples imagination and beliefs. Fashion is not visual clothing but is the invisible elements included in clothing”.

Here comes the link between her work and the name of the third section of the exhibition: New Values and New Stories. I am really fascinated by her way of thinking. It looks like if she is taking a broad working space which is fashion and approaching it from a totally unconventional side. I think the point of conceptual art is to influence the audience and show them something which is not obvious. Working with subconscious behavior and reactions upon “invisible fashion”, Varcoe is putting new values to clothing which is actually our second skin changing our behavior and social interactions.

Each of her works is often closely connected to the broad area of fashion sociology. It is claimed that in fact, fashion is not about clothing but more about the basic process that propels modern life, and it is the outfit which structures the psycho-social development of a modern person.

A similar  concept was to be seen in Varcoe’s other exhibit in the Boijmans Museum called ” Feeling of undress”. This movie was even less about fashion itself but more about the social behaviour and human interactions.

Some other sociologist like Georg Simmel states; ..” that fashion refers to a general phenomenon, in which it becomes a type of social horizon point where the individual interest and taste comes across the collective”. He once wrote “Fashion represents nothing more than one of the many forms of life by the aid of which we seek to combine . . . the tendency toward social equality with the desire for individual differentiation and change”.

I think after experiencing her art or being part of it, we start to realize some behaviors and actions which are natural for us but we can never see them consciously. Varcole gives us an opportunity to set aside our subconscious actions and observe how the natural behavior is chaining depending on what situation we are in.

I think the most interesting part of being an artist is to use your creativity and open minded thinking to show the audience something new, in this case something totally normal but not realized in everyday live. I think its also interesting how she links the scientific knowledge in the area of sociology to play with the human mind and gives people the opportunity to experience and then realize the way of human behaviors by taking part in her art performances.

Thoughts on Lucy + Jorge Orta


Friday, November 21, 2014

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Nexus Architecture

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The Human Centipede (2)

 

At the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s The Future of Fashion is Now (Fashion, Activism, Community and Politics), Lucy + Jorge Orta showed their work Nexus Architecture x 25 – Nexus Type Opera.tion. In Nexus Architecture (2001) they zip together the clothes of a group of volunteers. The idea is to depict the loss of individuality in a cluster of social relationships. We are all connected; “Each individual keeps an eye on, and protects, the other. One individual’s life depends on the life of the other. The warmth of one gives warmth to the other. The physical link weaves a social link.” I refer Nexus Architecture to the horror film The Human Centipede by Tom Six. ‘’A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a group of people in order to reassemble them into a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others’ rectums.’’ The victims basically have to wear each other to survive, of course an extreme version of “Each individual keeps an eye on, and protects, the other. One individual’s life depends on the life of the other. The warmth of one gives warmth to the other. The physical link weaves a social link’’.

 

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Nexus (which means link or tie) Architecture is a symbolic work which I find to be a shame as there are examples of functioning clothes which actually do realize bond and equality, for example school uniforms. I wore a school uniform as a child and my experience was that wearing a uniform built team spirit and unified. Also prevented the pressure of having to have status symbols such as branded clothes and thereby made the economical differences less visible in school. However I did feel a lack of freedom to express myself. Other areas where uniforms are used is for example in the military, prison, finance and sports. The idea is that if you are wearing the same uniform you are friends and you help each other. But even if we wear the same fabric and colors we are not always friends and we do not always help each other. To tell how the world works Orta metaphorically connected the uniforms physically (what happens to me will happen to you) which automatically also becomes literal. The work is executed in a bold and direct way which I do admire. The doubts I have about the work not being applied to people in a direct (functioning) way may depend on the way it is presented…

 

At Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Nexus Architecture was presented as an installation. But during performances, Orta gives the participants commands, setting the whole group in motion, ‘’emphasizing the loss of humanity within the collective’’. Depending on the participants engagement in following the task it can either be or not be a working organism. I believe that Orta is not making a political statement but rather questioning the political ideology of today and the future. Maybe the importance of both communism and capitalism, the group and the individual.

 

In general I was fascinated by the room of Activism, Community and Politics in the The Future of Fashion is Now exhibition because I respect artists like Orta who try to break down and deal with these large and relevant questions. I have to make 10 designs on the subject Ebola for design class which is a subject far from my control, and to me it is a motivation to see how Orta can manage similar matters. Orta has an optimistic approach in both content and aesthetic. But I can not help but question if the work of Orta maybe is too playful? I feel slightly split about the fact that world issues are ”anesthetized” when artists take them on. As the beauty overshadows the message but at the same time maybe this is necessary when wanting to communicate to the western world. It is a paradox. In any case I think that it is couregous to deal with such serious matters. Later on one can argue if a work is successful or not, if the artist does harm or good. I may be cynical but it is hard for me to understand the motive of why Orta has cared for the complex of global problems such as the ecological environment/global warming, sexism, refuge and immigration policy, the hostility towards the Romani people, the biomedical ethics of organ donation and homelessness as these subjects differ so much from each other. But then again it is arguable that a team of two artists do not share the same mind and therefore bring different issues to the table. Anyway Orta has surely succeeded in raising some of  the spectators awareness or opinion as I have just written a text about this.

The London Supplementary Design Show


Friday, November 1, 2013

 

< LONDON DESIGN >

 

< CAREFULLY SELECTED FOR YOU >

 

17 Rietveld Foundation Year students visited London in the first week of October 2013 where they composed their own London collection of design highlights.

Items were selected from the collections of many renown institutes like the British museum, Victoria & Albert, The Design museum, Off-site ICA or galleries (The White Chapel, Ravenrow etc…..). What is interesting for us? What do we like and why.

Previous to this trip we did visit the permanent design presentation in the Amsterdam Stedelijkmuseum. Compared to the items we selected and researched there [project: Design in the Stedelijk-3], this show presents a personal comparison between that and those of the London institutes.

If you click on them a caption will appear –just as a in a real museum– presenting information and a personal reflection on why that item was selected.
Researching contemporary design we present this “The London Supplementary Design Show” as a mirror of our own selection motives, an imaginary online exhibition space with items carefully selected for you.

click on images to visit the exhibit

 

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MarjorieSchick material 3d printer

selected by Wiebe Bouwsema WillyBrown_redu TrojanColumn_VAA G_Force_Cyclonic_James_Dyson

 

Woman of the Shreds


Thursday, August 8, 2013

My thesis “Aufarbeitung” [reprocessing] is based on a historical research on the influence of economical and political crises on fashion and clothing production from a German perspective, says Verena Michels (fashion graduate 2013). My investigation aimed at finding answers on “how can I be a pro-active designer in the current crises and turn shortcomings into innovation? This theoretical research was the starting point for my garment collection.

© PETER STIGTER  FILENAME IS DESIGNERNAME RIETVELD 2013 GRADUATES © PETERS STIGTER RIETVELD ACADEMIE 2013 EINDEXAMEN © PETER STIGTER  FILENAME IS DESIGNERNAME RIETVELD 2013 GRADUATES

photo's Peter Stigter

 

trummerfrauen The icon of my collection is the so called “Truemmerfrau” (woman of the shreds): former housewives who were empowered and emancipated through physical labour in post-war Germany during the years of restoration. It was a period of hardship and material-, clothes-, and food shortcomings that encouraged black market and innovation through necessity.
When comparing that situation to our current crisis, I find a paradox: the European financial crisis is characterised not by a shortcoming but by an overload of materials, clothes and food, and what we lack are values, work ethics and a definition of what defines quality in times of mass production and over-consumption.
I decided to look for the answer by researching “material”. After experimenting with dust, lint and fabric leftovers, I chose wool as my main material. It is a highly relevant material for me because of its rawness, because it comes directly from nature (sheep, alpaca, goat), protects our body, keeps us warm, and doesn’t need to be washed. I decided to use wool in a non-conventional way, and put it in a context other than knitting.

COVER Rosemarie Trockel wool painting
Rosemarie Trockel wool on canvas, Dark Threat 2 2010, Syz Collection

Inspired by the wool paintings of German artist Rosemarie Trockel who transferred wool from the female household to established art galleries, I developed a new textile. This material is flat, structured, and requires only the exact amount of yarn without waste. It can be produced at home with a household sewing machine. The simplicity of the technique allows me to share it with friends and to collaborate. This can be a relevant starting point for making production communal and local again. I see it as a contemporary translation of the post-war DIY culture and hope my idea inspires others.

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photo by Lutz Bauman

My collection book is an archive of visual research, notes and ideas, documentation of material and form research. It includes two chapters of my thesis and a photo series of the end results. The photo shoot took place at KOBOR, the wool store of Koos Koopman who buys yarns from bankrupt companies or factories that produced too much, and sells it at a fair price.

text by Verena Michels [graduate student department of Fashion] : more verenamichels.tumblr.com

 

Pdf-icon
Download her collection book ”Treummerfrau“, [woman of the shreds]

Pdf-icon Download the thesis: ”Aufarbeitung“, [recollection]
 

Fashion With a Gold Tread


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2013. We eat while we walk the dog and call our grandmother at the same time. There’s no time for sitting down. You see, time is money, and definitely not worth spending on a bench in a beautiful park doing nothing – or on repairing an unraveled sweater. It’s easier (and cheaper perhaps) just to buy a new one. But can time be measured in gold? We talk a lot about time over our worn out jackets.

 

 

Perhaps a short explanation is needed.

Seven years ago, Saskia van Drimmelen gathered a few people she knew and shipped off to Bulgaria. After eight years of designing clothes for the fashion elite in Paris, she had decided to quit her own (and at that point quite successful) brand, in search of a more fulfilling way of making clothes. In a book about Bulgarian crafts, she had found pictures of needlepoint lace unlike anything she had ever seen before – and so the treasure hunt begun. What started as a research on old fashioned and nearly forgotten techniques, became what today is known as Painted.

They call themselves a hybrid fashion collective. Many people stand behind the name Painted, but in the front seats you find Saskia together with theater director (and also Bulgaria explorer) Margreet Sweerts.
Their latest project is called Golden Joinery. Inspired by an old Japanese tradition where broken ceramics are repaired with golden paint, Saskia and Margreet invite you to repair your ragged clothes with a golden thread. They organize workshops where you can bring your beloved but broken sweater, jacket, dress or pair of jeans, and together you make it as good as – or perhaps even better than – new. And this is the frame of our conversation.

 

 

Painted is doing something different. In lack of a better name – perhaps combined with peoples need to categorize everything – Painted and their series of clothes are often referred to as slow fashion. Saskia and Margreet rather (if they really have to give it a name) call it slow clothes. Though many of the ideas behind their brand is compatible with the slow fashion thinking (like the sustainability and the anti buy and throw away mentality) Painted is still doing something different.

They work in the periphery of the fashion world, far away from catwalks, collections and trends (when they were asked to open the Amsterdam International Fashion Week, their answer was a YES with a big BUT – resulting in a room where models practised their tightrope skills, while the audience could walk around and watch).

Painted means spending time on making the clothes. Most of their garments are developed over years, and a normal procedure could be this: One starts making, lets say, a dress. Then leaves it to rest for a while, until somebody else finds the inspiration to continue. The garment grows in the hands of different people, until it’s finished. Nothing is planned or designed to the end, it becomes while it’s being made. All the contributors have something to say, and every piece is different from another.

 

 

I asked Saskia and Margreet what they thought making something by hand added to a clothing, and they answered with returning the question; What do I think making something by hand adds to a clothing? I was not capable of giving a straight answer at the time being –  and I’m not sure I am today either. But I know it adds something. Something of value, whatever that means. I know for instance that buying sweaters on a fleamarket and only afterwards realizing that it has been made by somebody’s hands, makes the scoop three times as good. This is of course a quite subjective way of thinking. Perhaps my idea of an old, gray haired and slightly chubby woman, sitting in a rocking chair knitting (I know this is the case only one out of twenty times) makes the sweater even warmer. Or maybe it’s the idea of somebody spending their time doing it that warms?

By the end of our talk, Margreet draws a scenario; If your house was burning, and you could only save what you could carry in your arms – what would it be (and now let’s look beyond computers and smartphones)? After the workshop, thinking about what I would have saved, I realize that this might be what Saskia and Margreet are trying to create in their clothes. A value that goes beyond money. Not just another really beautiful dress – but a garment with something close to affection.

I like to think that time invested in an out dying technique (let’s say a Bulgarian needlepoint lace) or in repairing an unraveled sweater makes it more worth than the machine produced alternative. I mean, time is after all money. Maybe we just haven’t learned to recognise the currency yet.

www.paintedseries.com

 

 

Epilog
After attending their workshop, and becoming a part of their secret, golden brand, Margreet and Saskia asked me to add a song to their playlist, a song about something broken or golden. Not that it really has anything to do with anything, but it’s about a broken heart and I felt like it belonged here as well.

Christopher Owens – A Broken Heart

 

I don’t have the skill to create a 3D dress like van Herpen’s Pythagoras tree, but since I have 123Dapp I might have the skill to duplicate it”


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Iris van Herpen’s dress the ‘Pythagoras tree’ was one of the first things I saw when I entered the Handmade exhibition at the Boijmans. The question: why is this in a handmade exhibition? Came to mind first. Right after my fascination for 3D printing was back again. Followed by a long stare at the dress, how did she do this? Of course some jealousy comes along too, with a dress like this, wishing I would have the skill yet to create it.

Van Herpen’s work, often described as “wearable sculpture”, fuses fashion with art.’’ My goodness how many times did I read this sentence when searching the web for more information about Iris van Herpen. Fuses fashion with art? So fashion isn’t art and sculpture is? The reason for me to place it within Design and not Art its because it is functional. Of course there are many opinions about, if van Herpen’s work is made to function as a Garment or not. But you can not deny that if you wanted to you can wear everything she creates. The “Pythagoras Tree” dress was made in collaboration with architect Julia Koerner. She studied architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria. A lot of her designs are produced from organic structures and compounds. She has worked on a 3Dprinted dress with van Herpen before. For this dress a Technique was used, known as ‘Mammoth Stereo lithography’. It is a 3D printing process in which the garment is built slice by slice from bottom to top, in a vessel of polymer that hardens when struck by a laser beam.
The collection Hybrid Holism by van Herpen is inspired by a work of the architect Philip Beesley , named Hylozoic Soil (2007). His work is about architecture not just being a space for people to exist in, but the architecture itself becoming a living being. When seeing Beesley’s work in general I can make a clear connection between the two. It feels like van Herpen want’s to recreate the aesthetics  of the architecture into something wearable.

Philip Beesley- Hylozoic grounds

 

Iris van Herpen- Hybrid Holism

When we think of something being handmade, we mostly think of the past and the interaction between human and raw material. Nowadays the amount of handwork that is being made is becoming less and less .Also many different technique’s are being realized. Therefor you start questioning which technique’s are considered within the category Handmade. Van Herpen’s dresses are hard to define. They are definitely design because it is not only functional but they are clearly based on a concept as well. But she is not designing only, when trying to get the dress to function properly she is engaging herself in engineering. And many of the programs she work’s with to realize her garments are programs used more often by engineers then they are used by designers.

My fascination for 3D printing started a few years ago when I first heard about it. I knew it definitely was going to change everything from the moment it would be accessible for everyone. It would change our consumer society, and our view on authenticity. It may not have this impact quite yet, but it is coming soon. The way the development has quickly progressed is mind blowing. Lately a 3Dprinted gun has been making head lines in the USA and the The Netherlands too. A man from the USA managed to create a working gun and posted a YouTube video of it online. After this had been on the news everywhere, the HVA ( a university of Amsterdam) tried to reprint it, the did not manage to print it, because they were stopped. But it had made headlines in the Netherlands.

 

Gun use, printed

 

It always takes something shocking for people to realize how a certain technology has developed right under their noses. Another recent headline, was body parts being printed. A small boy Kaiba Gionfriddo, had a life threatening condition cured by having an artificial windpipe and an airway splint printed and inserted in his body. It is the first medical achievement concerning 3D printing. If they are able to print body parts already, I can’t imagine what they will be able to print in a few years. I might not ever have to give birth to child, I could just print one on my 3D printer.

 

Van Herpen makes use of both 3dprinting and handwork in one garment. This blurrs the line between hand or machine made. Why is it we value handmade things so much? Is it because of the society we live in, in which everything is mass produced? I think mass producing and machines are two words that obviously go together. Many handmade items are mass produced as well and are valued equally to the machine made products. So it’s all about authenticity. We human’s tend to like it when we own something no one else has. It makes us feel more important. This feeling is linked to the handmade products we value so highly from before the mass producing era. Van Herpen’s dress might not be handmade, but it is the only existing one so we value it the same as we value the handmade products at the exhibition. This made me think: I can change the value we give van Herpen’s dress, all i have to do is create a second one. Since the dress is 3D printed it should be possible to have an exact replica made. After a long but pointless search on the internet for the blueprint of the ‘Pythagoras tree’ dress, I came along an app called autodesk123D . The app is created to make 3D printing of existing objects easier, all you have to do is take 20-40 pictures of an object from different angles and it will create the 3D blueprint for you. Since I found out about this app too late it wasn’t possible for me to visit the Boymans again to take the pictures, and try out if it is possible to create an exact replica online. I guess i don’t have the skill to create a 3Ddress like van Herpen’s Pythagoras tree, but since I have 123Dapp I might have the skill to duplicate it.

If you are interested in 3D printing, and living in Amsterdam visit:

www.ground3d.nl/

Not all boys dream of being kings, not all girls dream of being queens


Sunday, May 26, 2013

 
The intimacy of Grayson Perry´s drawings and the DIY characteristic
of punk and queer movements

 

The first time I came across Grayson Perry´s work happened on the same week I had a discussion with my classmates regarding minorities and the quantity of women inside the art academies X how many of them do we actually see in contemporary art galleries and museums.
Not only for briefly getting to know his beautiful works, but I was mostly glad to hear he was a successful and Turner Prize winner artist who also happened to be a transvestite. He made it out there despite for his choice of appearance or behavior and above all: his body of work does speak about all of these matters in a very subjective and personal way.
I hadn´t thought or researched much more about Perry until I visited the Hand Made exhibition at the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam with the Foundation Year. For my surprise the centrepiece of the exhibition was The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, by Grayson Perry.

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman is a tomb in the shape of a ship, which has been cast in iron, a floating reliquary that is forever earthbound. This, he says, is the tomb of the unknown craftsman, dedicated to the many thousands of artists over the centuries whose work survives but whose names will never be known. The political and whimsical aspects of the work promptly awakened my curiosity and interest in his art, so I decided to start researching about him.

Perry is mainly known for his ceramic pottery and tapestry, where he combines classical forms with his drawings and sketches. The drawings have a strongly autobiographical aspect, often depicting himself as Claire, his feminine alter-ego, and his teddy bear, Alan Measles, as a representation of the father figure, always providing comfort and affection. Many of his works picture sexually explicit content and for that reason they have been raising harsh criticism among art critics. But Perry habitually portrays the life of the working class as well as inciting discussions about minorities, sexuality, class and race. He has said, “I like the whole iconography of pottery. It hasn’t got any big pretensions to being great public works of art, and no matter how brash a statement I make, on a pot it will always have certain humility… For me the shape has to be classical invisible: then you’ve got a base that people can understand”.

Looking closely to the drawings on the pottery and trying to understand what they wish to communicate I could not help but think that their guerrilla-like motto and storytelling elements reminded me of the punk zines and the DIY (do it yourself) aesthetic of the punk and queer movements. In my mind, the way Perry uses the form of traditional vases as a free base and platform for the materialization of his thoughts immediately related to the intimacy and freedom of speech of the hand made booklets.
The hand made zines played a very important role in the punk movement in the late 1970s. Through the making of a zine one could express his own or a group´s principles and spread the word while being able to escape from the control of the publishing companies and media. In my opinion the exceptionally underground aspect of it is what provided the freedom necessary for the makers to loosen up from any possible apprehension regarding public judgment in order to feel welcome to express their most genuine political thoughts. I can recognize this very same bravery and freedom of speech in Perry´s drawings.

For Perry art should be able to communicate to the public and not only to the high-class art related intellectual minority. He also reflects on crafts as a form of art and in an interview to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, he mentions that craft and art are greatly linked and that is actually one great thing about it. Craft by definition is something that can be taught to someone else, you can teach someone how to throw a pot and they can become as good at it as you. Whereas art is very much linked to an individual vision and it´s not necessarily something that can be taught. One can be derivative and take up someone elses vision but he won´t ever become that person.
Perry calls himself an artist and craftsman and he makes use of crafts as a solid and clear base for his art, a base that becomes a tool for the expression and carriage of his message.
Not surprised I discovered Perry was involved in the Chelmsford punk scene in the late 1970s, he lived in squatted houses and at some point shared a house with the pop singer and transvestite Boy George, who became an inspiration for him. He is also the father of Flo, a 21 years old girl, and the husband of the author and psychotherapist Philippa Perry.

Golden Joinery – a fashion label with focus on the genuine, personal meeting


Friday, May 24, 2013

 

Quick fashion, one trend after another. Passion for fashion becomes synonymous with renewing yourself and being up to date.

In today’s reality where we consume more than we need, where we meet and communicate through one screen or another and where machines can basically do everything, there are some necessities for experiencing the genuine and personal that cannot be simulated by any kind of machines.

Saskia van Drimmelen has been a fashion designer for two decades, graduating from the fashion Department of Arnhem Academy of Arts. For eight years she had her own brand and followed the fashion markets system with presenting two collections per year. Her collections were selling at leading boutiques such as Colette (Paris), Brown (London) and Van Ravenstein (Amsterdam). Her work was shown and bought by museums all over the world and Adidas asked her to design a sneaker. But along the way her interest and approach changed direction. Together with Margreet Sweerts, theater director, she begun to investigate ways to create more personal, unique, “slow” clothes and in 2007 they started Painted Series – a story in garment. A label with an embrace of handmade as opposed to mass production. They travelled to places where almost forgotten knowledge of craftwork still was practiced. To Bulgaria where women knew the tradition of making needlepoint and from the Assiniboine tribe in Northern America they learned about beadery. Collaborations started with different people involved to make the slowly ever-growing collection, like a bands repertoire. The collection is not bound to a season or trends.

The starting point for Saskia and Margreet were beautiful antique family garments from Bulgaria that had been inherited through generations and added to in each led. The pieces carried a story and a soul that inspired the duo to create garments with the same idea of letting designers and artisans traditional techniques contribute. As a result the collaboration creates a personal, unique, delicate piece of clothes that carries a story, tradition and a close relationship to its creators.

With the quote from Leonard Cohen “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” the Painted present their latest project Golden Joinery. Often when we repair broken things we do it with intention to hide it and make it as if new. An alternative “broken is better than new” aesthetic – that it actually can add value and the symbolic aspects – fascinates the fashion collective. With the passion for imperfect love they invite me for a workshop where clothes that are broken or stained can be repaired with a golden scar. The inspiration came from the Japanese tradition of repairing broken ceramics with golden paint, a technique called Kintsugi. The invitation is to bring a piece of clothes that you hold dearly and that is defect, to a workshop and repair it with the same idea as Kintsugi, with golden thread or patches of golden textile. The clothes breath new life by sharing the joy of making with the traditional techniques and an important aspect is the experience and the interaction. The participants are contributing to a new brand that slowly will arise.

 

 Gintsugi on a Seigan's Ido shape tea bowl [source]

In Painted’s studio in the west of Amsterdam, four women came together with the originators of Golden Joinery and their brought broken beloved clothes wear. For a couple of hours we took a break from our duties and sat down to repair and to meet. I brought for myself a “new” but long looked for, perfectly worn out second hand leather jacket. The seams on the inside were completely trashed, the lining material was sticking out every time I put it on. I healed it with golden thread and the jacket slowly held together again. The golden thread gives me the feeling that it will hold forever. Knowing that, I will walk around with the golden thread on the inside, towards my body giving the feeling of a secret. If the jacket opens you might glimpse some shimmer and if you ever heard about Golden Joinery you will know the deal.

 

 

The people that come to the workshop are now a part of a new slowly arising brand. The logo, a small golden ellipse, that Saskia stitched on the left inside of my jacket is shining like a beetle and makes me a part of the ever-growing Golden Joinery. The event and the knowledge that more people have been joining the same thing –and you might spot the signs on the street–, makes it a bit special. My relationship to this jacket is now closer, like a friend that I supported. I haven’t known the friend for a long time but some you get close to quicker and some events can enhance this intimacy. This definitely did.

 

Apart from Amsterdam, Painted will give the workshop Golden Joinery to enrich garments in Maastricht, New York, Wrightwood, Ahmedabad, Eindhoven, Paris and Mallorca.

GRA DRESS-INDEX SHOW


Thursday, March 7, 2013

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Group D of the Basic Year worked on the GRA DRESS-INDEX* project during the months of February and March 2013. Each student took ‘dress’ at the GRA as a starting point for new clothing designs. Each individual research resulted in one new outfit. These outfits were presented in the form of a fashion show at the staircase of the old GRA building (between 2nd and 3rd floor) on March 21st. It was an energetic – exciting – show, here a video synopsis of the show:

>> As one student said: People dress quite boring at the Rietveld, this is way more fun…. Why don’t we dress up like the GRA DRESS-INDEX outfits every day?

*GRA = Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam
DRESS = Clothing in a broad sense; the way people wear, move around and behave in clothing
INDEX = List arranged usually in alphabetical order of
some specified data (as subject, or keyword)
<

DRESS-INDEX #4


Monday, February 11, 2013

 

 

The bag is everywhere on the human body. It is being up, middle and down and even disappears.

In my impression, the bag acts a minor role on the human body wherever it is. Starting to cut a bag into pieces based on observation sketches above and then making collages.

Making collages which have a feeling of extracted elements of the bags in the academy, which are ‘devotion’ and ‘indifference’.

 

The final outfit:

The black surfaces, which are originally part of the bottom of the bag,
are shaped in some volumes in order to depict an emphasis of its usability.

The twisted form of the shirt and the parts of a T-shirt represents a gap between ‘devotion’ and ‘indifference’ (which is a concept of this outfit). Gray fabric attached to the leg expresses a sense of coldness. It traces my impression of the locations where the bag is in the academy.

 

 

Stedelijk Design Show 2012 /Future Highlights


Monday, November 12, 2012

17 Rietveld's Foundation Year students visited the "Stedelijk Collection Higlights /Design" in the newly opened Stedelijk Museum. Marveling at some masterpieces of Interbellum design or surprised –a little further– by the Scandinavian design some of us know so well from our grandparents homes, we arrived at the last part of this "Depot Salon" wondering what a 2012 selection of Design could be.
Researching contemporary design we composed the "2012 Supplementary" which we present in this post. From the exhibit "Stedelijk Collection Higlights /Design" we all selected a personal best and made it the focus of the researches published as part of the project "Design-in-the-Stedelijk"

 



 


THE WAY OF A HANDWRITING


Sunday, October 28, 2012

cover of the book Well Well Well containing his differents works, 2010

 

Letman. Behind this nickname hides a former student of the Rietveld Academy, Job Wouters.  He represents well a very illustrative part of graphic design and type design. This young artist is currently becoming quite famous, with some impressive institutions as clients like Monoprix, Heineken, Tommy Hilfiger, the New York Times Magazine, Playboy, or more recently a collaboration with dutch artist Dries Van Noten for a fashion show. In addition he has just published a book in collaboration with Gijs Frieling, and received the Dutch Design Award for his series of posters called Undercover.

 

Wouters first started to practice his drawing passion with friends and his brother, sharing their discoveries together. He still often collaborates with his brother Roel, or his childhood friend Yvo Sprey. He was quite intrigued by graffiti, practicing a lot and was particularly interested in street art lettering. This was his first step into the world of typography. In an interview, he said: when I was a youngster I was especially interested in graffiti-writers, who could write their names flawlessly in different styles. The communicative potential of type style was already of great interest to him. It is ironic to start looking at different styles that could communicate your personality through graffiti and finally do the same for corporate firms or advertisements. Later Job entered the KABK school of the Hague in the typography department and then carried his studies further at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where he graduated in 2004. His great passion for graffiti and handwriting was already very present during his studies. His graduation work was for example made out of 500 posters displaying each name of his classmates, they were handwritten thanks to a huge panel of graffiti styles. Job is definitely interested in underground handmade style of graphic design always keeping aesthetic problems, finalization and communication effects in mind. It is impressive to see a designer like Job who found his way so early, and then sticking to this fundamental base, staying true and evolving all the way.

 

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PUSHING THE LIMITS


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

 

We didn’t ask the school, we sent Linda (Linda Van Deursen, head of graphic design department, red.) a mail to say what we needed, but yeah after that I don’t think we had any contact with the school again.” Niels smiles.

I’m sitting in the studio of two of the leading fashion photographers in the world, that of Auschka Blommers and Niels Schumm, sipping a coffee that Anuschka made for me.

“Well, it was our idea to use Rietveld students”, Niels explains when I ask them who decided to make the reportage, “It was the Art Director who wanted a street casting and COS was very sceptical to it at first. But it’s always a bit tricky to go out on the streets to find models; they are always staying only for a few days in the country or can’t make it for some other reason. So it was easier for us to pick students from Rietveld. Besides it felt more like a real group, closer to us somehow. We all knew about each other, so that makes it easier to work together.”

What we are talking about is the latest collaboration Anuschka and Niels had with COS, a smaller brand originally an offspring from H&M, with their new lookbook for 2012.

So they started with a casting, asking and selecting fifteen people from the school, of which ten pictures were chosen to be viewed by COS, who then picked out seven of them to be in the magazine.

“But yeah, they see something else than we do” Anuschka explains, “where we see portraits, they see too much blonds. Or too pail skin. Or not enough guys, and so forth.”

 

I find it interesting that Anuschka and Niels, being former students and employees at the Rietveld, are doing a lookbook for a commercial fashion brand where they make use of Rietveld students without consulting the academy. In this way, Rietveld is portrayed almost as a product, rather than an art school.

 

But let’s go back a bit. It all started 1996, the year Anuschka Blommers had her end exam show at the Rietveld Academy (Niels graduated a year before). There she met Job van Bennekom, he saw her work and was immediately impressed and wanted her and Niels to come and make a photo series for a new magazine he was working on.

“YOUR work? He saw your work? Here we go again!” Says Niels laughing.

“Ok, our work then”, Anuschka replies smiling. She heard that joke before.

“We’re like a married couple, fighting over little things”, he explains, “not knowing who did what or said what anymore.”

Anuschka and Niels were working more and more together until one day they couldn’t tell who made which pictures anymore.

“It’s ridiculous really, we got to that point were I would help Anuschka set up the light in the studio, and she would hold the camera and take a shot. So which name should it be under the picture? Foto: Anuschka Blommers, Light: Niels Schumm? That didn’t work.”

“So we started to work together as a duo and eventually you forget who did what. You start to believe that you did a lot more than you actually did!” Anuschka fills in.

They are very used to each other, one picks up were the other one is finishing a sentence and they easily slipp into jokes and laughter.

“So anyway, it was Jop who one year later introduced us to Viktor & Rolf for an exhibition some 15 years ago”, Anuschka says.

And that’s where it all started for Anuschka and Niels, they took their first step into the fashion industry and haven’t stepped out of there since then.

“I mean, we were basically doing what we did at the Rietveld, taking pictures of our family and friends, but the only difference now is that they wear big brands like Comme Des Garcons.”

“Then why did you want to do fashion photography?”

“Well we didn’t!” they both respond.

 

 

“We didn’t know anything about fashion or clothes or brands. We really had no clue! We just kept doing our thing, but we did it with the models wearing their fashion couture instead.” Niels says.

“We have some influence while taking the picture and printing it in a magazine, but what I find fascinating is that media then picks it up and it can go anywhere, it gets its own life. We don’t know what’s going to happen”, Anuschka explains.

“For instance last year at Queen’s Day, I actually met a woman who sold me one of my first pictures back to me, without knowing! She kept it for 15 years! That is amazing”, Niels says.

But Anuschka and Niels don’t just do portraits and fashion, they have also done work with still life photography, something that Niels was doing a lot in his Rietveld days, whereas Anuschka mostly did portraits back then. When asked what they prefer to do now they tell me that it’s the opposite: when they work separately on private projects Anuschka is the one trying out still life, whereas Niels is doing more portraits.

 

 

In their collaborate work they are trying to step away from Photoshop by taking surreal photos of objects floating, or tricking the eye, by only using lights and angles. For instants The Cube was one of the first photos that Niels wanted to make. He got a camera at the age of ten, and it fascinated him then how the perspective changes when you look through the viewfinder, so when you take the picture it never is quite the same as you saw it in reality. This notion he carried with him, he wanted to challenge this illusion by taking a picture with a professional camera, arranging this impossible cube.

 

 

“There was actually a young couple at our last exhibition at Foam, where the girl asked the boy; How do they do that?, and the boy answers; Photoshop, of course! We both were like Noooooo!”  Anuschka laughs.

It is fascinating to see how they try to make a real thing look like something that’s not real, like this impossible cube that looks like a cube from one angle and from another angle it’s just pieces of wood. So it’s very much about that, about this non-Photoshop. With little gestures they want to turn around the meaning of the image.

 

 

“You should always go back to yourself, and stay true to what you do”, Anuschka says in the end of the interview, smiling vaguely as if she’s possessing a secret that she knows already, and that we all have to discover for ourselves.

 

Radio Rietveld! DJ Zachary Airhorn interviews : Franciscus Van Der Meer


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Radio Rietveld resident DJ Zachary Airhorn had a little chat with fashion designer Franciscus Van Der Meer about mislabeling, telling stories with garments, fashion jargon and living in London.

fashion -garments- are the most intimate and superficial layer that separates our minds and bodies from all around us. they cover our inner space. so what happens around us? what goes on in the outer space? wars, attacks on politicians, poverty, enough clean drinking water, hiv, riots in suburbia etc. the one word that connects all this is intolerance: angst & anxiety for the unknown and thus the threatening. so how do we deal with each other?
what do we show and what do we conceal? to what extend do you choose for yourself instead of those around you? what’s the relation between our own individuality and selflessness? what the confrontation like, when our inner space meets the outer space?

Franciscus van der Meer

The interview starts with Franciscus calling via Skype during a wonderful song by the Beach Boys, Heroes and Villains. We begin talking about his show at FOAM in Amsterdam, which took place in early 2012. Quickly the interview moves on to the issue of talkin fashion without visual aid, and thus the relation between his collections and this above text on his website from his collection …and I’ll show you mine :

 

We then speak about his work in London, his time with a label, and his work on his captual collection (a series of five outfits). Franciscus speaks in detail of his process, mentioning how the first outfits are generally more “confined”, while the later ones are calmer. He goes from “a place of aggravation to a place of peace.” The discussion then goes into the importance of atmosphere during a presentation, his annoyance with clichés relating to fashion, and his collaboration with friends documenting his work.

 

JOFF’s fashion designed ART


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

 

JOFF is the alter ego / the ‘brand’ of Joffrey Moolhuizen, created for his graduation collection in 2001 when he graduated from the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. In 2002 JOFF also graduated from the fashion institute in Arhnem. But instead of working in the conventional fashion designer way, making new collections every season, he wanted to establish his work through the art circuit. The designer who grew up in an extremely religious Jehovah’s Witness family, left for art school, where he “found himself” being forced to break with his family. His work originally began as a direct response to the restrictive culture he was raised in, with pieces hiding as much skin as possible (dramatically high collars and uncomfortable cuts are part of the appeal). His work can be seen as androgynous. The designer works on the fine line between femininity and masculinity. As he grew up as a designer, he became more self centered and focused his clothing designs on himself maybe even to the extreme. JOFF’s famous collection ofoffjoff is on the edge of narcissism. Every design is made precisely to his own measurements. So also the models should be approximately his size and build. In theory the work is meant for everybody (though you should be his size) and all the designs are totally unisex, but only avaible in one size, JOFFSIZE.
JOFF is a fashion designer who is multidisciplinary and tries to work in more than one approach to fashion by putting it in the art scene as performance, making books. He tries to combine more mediums to approach fashion, which I think is because of his Rietveld experience. About the Ofoffjoff collection JOFF made a book together with Julia Born (also studied at the Rietveld academie) who is a graphic designer. The book is called Ofoffjoff- one to one. Quoting mrs. Mo Veld who is a fashioncritic and fashion theory teacher at the Rietveld academie  “The  book is more than just the work of JOFF on paper, the classic medium to let fashion transcend beyond the original object of desire, like for instance a lookbook as it is called in fashion. OFOFFJOFF- one to one is a fashion object in itself giving the audience an alternative to discover in detail as well as relate to JOFF”S design, his style, his image, his size, one to one. JOFF and you. Much like early pop magazines featured life size “starschnitt” images of teenage icon. In this publication the designer again becomes the measure of all.”
The book earned two best designed books listings in 2007, by the best designed books foundation presented at the Stedelijk museum Amsterdam, as well as by the most beautiful Swiss books 2007

JOFF is also the artistic director/ curator of the Arhnem fashion biennale. Last year he tried to discuss the relationship between fashion and contemporary art in this city based exhibition. He didn’t want to make it in to a commercial fashion show because there are already to many of those. He sees fashion as the art that’s closest to the body, but tries to get more out of the biennale than only showing nice looking skirts, pants etc. he wants you to get the feeling of what fashion is in his eyes. His concept was a search to the identity and the phenomenon of fashion and also a declaration of love to fashion. He opened the biennale with a love letter to Amber which was also the title of the biennale (AMB first three characters of Amber stand for Arhnem Mode Biennale) which said:  “I’m addicted to your deception and temptation and will never be able to live without this on and off relation.”
The goal of JOFF is to show fashion in all it’s manifestations, it goes beyond clothing. He also wants to show that your hairstyle and the car you choose is part of fashion, fashion is everywhere in daily life. Also photographs, objects, texts and what not will be shown with the goal to show the social-cultural function of clothing. But also outside of the exhibition space there was a lot to see not just the beautiful fashion stores but also the best bakery and the best views in town. This is how he wants to show that fashion is everywhere around us.

I think he has a really rich Rietveld background that is visible in his work and the way he directs the AMB. Already by not trying to fit in in the fashion world but trying to put his work in the art circuit feels really Rietveld to me. Also that he tries to combine elements out of other working fields, not just making dresses but his fashion serves a different higher goal. He uses his designs to do performances, installations and publications and by doing this he goes a step further than most fashion designers
Also his work is maybe more conceptual than most fashion designers with his Ofoffjoff project and also using his religious  conservative background and not only to make beautiful looking clothes but clothes with a story

This conclusion is based on available facts. I tried to e-mail Mr JOFF but never got an answer.

 

http://www.moveld.com/?page_id=132

the modern man in nature


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

By wearing masks, I attempted to free myself from my ego and access a collective unconsciousness. It is a reaction to the Western urban human being, wallowing in a nostalgic concept of nature, convinced of being able to reach a certain pure natural state within the safe context of taking a course in “primal dancing” or “collaborating with dead ancestors.  quote by Emmeline de Mooij [x]

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Six Feet Under


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

 

&Foam
Foam lies in the city center of Amsterdam, in the museum on the Keizersgracht. That is where they program a wide range of expositions. From world famous photographers to young and -as of yet- unknown talent. Grand long-term expositions are followed by rapid successions of  smaller expositions.
&Foam are special editions seeking new collaborations with exceptional artist, with intersecting  the fields of photography and other forms of art.
The current &Foam exposition at display in the Vijzelstraat in Amsterdam is about Philippe Vogelenzang

‘Six feet Under’
While visiting the ‘Fashion &Foam’ exposition one particular black and white photograph immediately caught the eye. A photograph depicting the bottom halves of seven soles. Shoe soles branded with the names of famous brands like Moshino, Prada, Hugo Boss, Lanvin, Emporio Armani en Vero Cuoio; designer shoes one and all.
After my tour of the rest of the exposition this piece again caught my eye, this time from a distance. The picture -while still recognizable as the same work- looks completely different from afar compared to what you see close up. These were not shoes, but gravestones!
The artist is playing tricks on his audience. He fools you into seeing the wrong thing, at least that is what it seems at first. The picture leaves a completely different impression from a distance and at second glance. It also made me curious as to the message of the piece. Then again the title is descriptive enough ; ‘Six feet Under’

 

‘Six Feet Under’

 

The young photographer (1982) lives in Amsterdam. He mostly works in fashion photography doing shoots for national and international fashion magazines. Digging deeper it soon became clear that he is a very active artist. The internet seems to be full of pictures by Philippe Vogelenzang. Many of the websites containing his pictures are about fashion photography. But not just any fashion photography. There always seems to be a story behind the pictures. A little something extra.

 

Interview with Philippe Vogelenzang

Does the academy still influence your work?
“No, the academy does not influence my work.
Before going to the academy I studied ‘Design en Styling’ after which I studied Art History for two years at the UVA (university of amsterdam) .”
After studying photography for a year at the ‘Koninklijke Academy for Fine Art’ in the Hague I decided to quit my studies and start to develop my own photographic aesthetics and intensity. The first year at the academy in the Hague did of course provide me with a solid base.”

How did you like the transition van studying at the academy to working in the field?
”I liked it a lot, I made many friends. And also made contact with a lot of photographers, they taught me a lot.”

Where do you get your inspiration?
“Inspiration comes from myself, the surroundings; everywhere basically.
I always work out my feelings and I make what I like and feel I want to make.
How it all eventually develops, as it is growing. Focused work is completely different of course.”

Do you like working with a theme?
“Yes, I like working with themes. I am especially drawn to start working on projects that tell a story and address important social issues.”

What is the relationship between your work at Fashion &Foam and you other work?
“In my photography i mainly focus on portraiture, fashion photography and art. Starting often with nostalgic of classical pieces. Aesthetics also play a big part in my works, that is where the fashion comes in. Fashion &Foam is a reflection of whom I am and what I strive for’’

In Fashion And Foam your work seems like conceptual photography, what do you think of this?
“My work is now with foam editions and is picked up that way and it seems that way more and more recognition for my work to occur, it is now as well as in foam in a more artistic angle. This is not something you can control it, but it is an honor if you work in this way is put down. “

What camera do you use?
” I was just sponsored a new camera, a Leica S System. Before that one I used a Canon 1Ds mark II”
One more interesting project in cooperation with Majid Karrouch is Project MODE MADE MAN – (for Amsterdam Museum

Vogelenzang in Foam see: http://www.foam.org/press/2012/en_foam

 

Discover Design


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

 

 

Fluid Fabrics


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

 

Probably the most fascinating part of the work of fashion designers Niels Klavers and Astrid van Engelen, is the special role given to the deliberate choice of material as the main ingredient of the design, which influences and shapes the garment (as they describe in the short video/interview Dutch Profile: Klavers Van Engelen). And what particularly fascinates me is the material referred to as the decisive factor of the final product and I will try to describe how the fabric becomes such a strong and inspirational object. The Designers` concept is based on this approach and it is evident that they want the fabric to get its own independent life when it is worn by the model. It moves and creates its peculiar visual  spectacle. That is why the designers Klavers and Engelen said that one cannot capture the whole of the design in a still picture as there is way more to see beyond the precise recorded instance of a shot. And there I can insist on the importance of those few minutes (ephemeral but also intensively documented) of the fashion show as the playground where the garments can perform. However, the shots are essential as they represent the source that the wide public can see. The selected audience that get the chance to attend the show, is thrilled by the wild appearance of the fabric while it is exposed in its most adventurous moment.

Coming from an art school, which apparently creates a different starting point compared to the background of other foreign fashion designers that studied at a regular fashion schools. These designers start working conceptually until the ideas develop naturally into an autonomous form. I recognize in this the “fingerprint” of the Gerrit Rietveld academy style that shapes the way of working and thinking, in the same way we, basic year students are educating our own visual language during these years of studying at the academy. What really surprised me is the manner in which the designers managed to implement all the practices that I see everyday in school, in such a rich and fulfilling way. Although their first garments were more constructivist and conceptual, they later developed into more wearable collections that keep the same tactility of the pure form and material.

 

Klavers Van Engelen

 

Seeing the work as if it is an enchanted talisman that is liberated as soon as it gets out of the stiff folding on the closet shelve, it also becomes a way of dealing with and approaching the material. I could add almost with respect not afraid to explore all its opportunities to the maximum. The moment that the fabric is released from the packaging, it suddenly becomes that creature that reflects light and communicates with the person that animates it. They treat the material as a living source that inspire their creations and give shape to the final products. Even though the designers try to keep the shape as simple as possible (sometimes just a rectangular piece of fabric with a cut), it still is very open for so many options and highly rich in its visuals, while the person can choose her/his own way of wearing it. That is why I may add that the delicate choice of the fabric as the raw material for the product, is indeed very beautiful in itself and carefully highlight every time when the garment is put into motion. The material speaks by itself determination the strictly sensory way of perceiving it at first glance when the audience is fascinated by that ”what it can do”.

“And it doesn’t move gently either, it becomes wild. The reaction we often hear is: have you seen how that moves! Wow, it`s amazing!” The choice of material is very important. The swishing and swirling of an animated garment is so very different then if it were captured in the photo”

The idea of the piece of clothing moving wildly and captivating the viewer is fascinating. I keep imagining a bond created between the designer and the fabric but also between the person wearing it and the clothing item.

What is this relationship based on? Is it exclusively sensory or more than that? From my own experience, when I visited The Fashion Foam and saw the first Klavers van Engelen design , I was captivated by that intense dark blue and the way the garment that they presented, more like a sculpture than a piece of clothing. It raised questions of what it may be and how it would look on a model or if I would have it in my hands. At first there is this very instinctive urge to touch it to see how it feels and then wondering and imagining how it would look like in another environment. Furthermore, what does it mean that it is presented in this way? I like the challenging way of exhibiting a fashion design that it almost detach from the wearable part but anyway, brings it back to its original meaning because of the context and space it is displayed in.

In conclusion, I would like to come back to my main reflective point which is the material choice in relation with Klavers van Engelen designs. The fabric is our starting point and the most recent collections have evolved from the horizontal.”  Their approach is quite simple and doesn’t involve pattern making or a lot of sketching but rather a hands-on way of working. What is important is the exploration of the material by researching all its opportunities and on top of all, the relation with the human body. Wrapping the fabric around the body and see what shape it gets is the easiest way of getting to know what they are looking for. The fabric has its own language that is translated visually as soon as it is wrapped around the model.

“You can tie a square around your hips and you have a skirt, that`s the simplest approach, but what other options are there for creating a form.”

Soepboer & Stooker


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Soepboer & Stooker- A fashion brand, a collaboration between designer Berber Soepboer and Anne Stooker. It’s not only about fashion but also involves different media like installation, photography but mainly based on textile and clothing.

I went to the store for a little interview with Anne Stooker, she told me it was her dream to have her own concept store. She was born in 1984, she first did a foundation course in Fashion academy ARTENIS in Rotterdam, then she came to the Rietveld to continue her Bachelor programme of fashion. She met Berber Soepboer who was one grade higher than her during the study in the Rietveld . Here is some pieces from her in her graduation collection during 2006.

she describes, ‘in her designs, she gets concepts out of existing clothing to which she add subtle details by using a variety of fabrics with prints and her own designs.’

After graduation, as a freelance designer, she also participated styling for a Hip Hop band The Fringe and on September, 2009, she started the concept store with Berber Soepboer. What they are doing, she said, is a bit different than the other brands, they don’t design collections for every season, every piece they designed is connected to the rest of one big collection. It’s like if from one a trunk a lot of branches grow.

Berber Soepboer, finished her bachelor programme of fashion in 2007, she declares: “I design items of clothing that are characterized through the different ways in which they can be worn. The wearer can make choices in how he or she wants to wear the garment and is thus co-designer of the garment.  In this way I want to create a greater awareness of personal identity, sustainability is a recurring theme in this.” There’s some of her works which explains her concepts very well.

‘The dresses of the collection are extremely complex, with a series of wires that allow changing the shape of the dress.’

I remember this piece which hung on the wall in the store, one is not colored was put next to another one Which was colored, with pens next to it.

 

This few pieces below are some of the recent pieces in their big collection.

When I talked with Anne, she told me this piece is inspired by the city of Gorkum and the history behind. “Inspired by Countess Jacoba van Beieren a remarkable historical person from this region. Elements from her life such as traditional dress, Dutch ship trade and waterways are reflected in the designs. Present and Past + Identity and Perception were visualized in designs in which shapes and prints of the past get a new form and function in the present. This has resulted in garments which can be worn in different ways where there is an interaction between the individual pieces by means of encounters and connections.

The designs for the two silk scarves find their origin in folds; for storing clothes in cupboards and chests, it was necessary to fold in the old days. The folds are visible on the print but the actual scarf isn’t folded, also the VOC painting is folded and then printed.”  - Berber Soepboer


 


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